1982 Amendments to VRA–New Article

A new article by Richard Johnson, Queen Mary, University of London explores conflicts with the Reagan administration over the 1982 amendments to the Voting Rights Act. It pushes back against the view that Republican support can be explained by the party’s belief that the Supreme Court would strike down its most expansive provisions. The article appears in Studies in American Political Development.

Abstract: Republican support for the 1982 Voting Rights Act (VRA) extension is a puzzle for scholars of racial policy coalitions. The extension contained provisions that were manifestly antithetical to core principles of the “color-blind” policy alliance said to dominate the GOP. Recent scholarship has explained this puzzling decision by arguing that conservatives were confident that the VRA’s most objectionable provisions could be undone by the federal bureaucracy and judiciary, while absolving Republicans of the blame of being against voting rights. This article suggests that the picture is more complicated. . . . .

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Lessig and Equal Citizens Group Make Another Run at Supreme Court, Arguing that States Can Limit Contributions to Super PACs Without Violating the First Amendment

Read the cert petition, with the following question presented:

Petitioners are Alaskan citizens who challenged the Alaska Public Offices Commission’s (“APOC’s”) refusal to enforce Alaskan law regulating contributions to independent political action committees. APOC had defended its refusal on the basis of federal circuit court rulings that held such regulations violate the First Amendment. Petitioners had asked the Alaska courts to consider the original meaning of the First Amendment, to conclude that a majority of this Court would not affirm those circuit court decisions. The Alaska Supreme Court rejected the relevance of any argument from originalism and upheld APOC’s refusal.

The question presented in this petition is whether this Court should grant certiorari, vacate the judgment below, and remand (“GVR”) with instructions to weigh the arguments from originalism in determining whether the First Amendment permits the regulation of contributions to independent political action committees.

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Challenge to Minnesota’s Procedures for Restoring Voting Rights to Felons Heard in State Supreme Court

Minnesota Public Radio

Minnesota’s Supreme Court heard arguments this week in a case that may determine whether continuing to disenfranchise voters on parole or on probation violates the state’s constitution. The case turns on the fact that, under the Minnesota precedent, statutes and policies that have a racial disparate impact must meet heightened scrutiny to survive a constitutional challenge.

“It seems to me when you were disenfranchising just huge swaths of the population, particularly when that population are primarily people of color, who the Equal Protection Clause was a design to the very people it was designed to protect,” Hudson said. “How is that the tight fit that Russell [the Minnesota precendent] requires?”

50,000 Minnesotans with active felony records will be affected by the Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision.

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New Civic Center Study–“In Arizona’s two largest counties, fewer than 15% of 18-year-olds are registered to vote

New research by Laura W. Brill at the Civics Center shows struggles to register young voters in Arizona. “[F]ewer than 15% of 18-year-old residents of Arizona’s most populous counties, Maricopa County and Pima County, have registered to vote.” These trends… Continue reading

“How the GOP threatens harm to red state residents, as revealed in a new study”

This new Op Ed by Greg Sargent in the Washington Post, highlights, once more, deficits in policy responsiveness that arises out of hyper-polarization, among other things. Sargent highlights a new  study from the Third Way–a centrist Democratic-leaning group–that analyzes the… Continue reading

“Prosecutors demanded records of Sidney Powell’s fundraising groups as part of criminal probe”

Washington Post “Federal prosecutors have demanded the financial records of multiple fundraising organizations launched by attorney Sidney Powell after the 2020 election as part of a criminal investigation, according to a subpoena reviewed by The Washington Post. The grand jury… Continue reading

“As its revenue dropped, the NRA took millions of dollars from its charities and funded political groups”

Open Secrets Anna Massoglia reports on NRA’s financial difficulties at Open Secrets. “The NRA faces a lawsuit from the New York attorney general to dissolve its main 501(c)(4) lobbying arm following the attorney general’s investigation of corruption charges that unearthed “inappropriate spending,”… Continue reading